Chef-de-mission Dr Mohammad Ali Shah, who is also the sports minister of Pakistan's Sind province, told TOI from Karachi that he is a great believer in the campaign and the Games has offered a fantastic opportunity to build a bridge of peace between the people of the two great countries. "The Games has given us a fantastic opportunity to foster harmony between the two countries. We'll eat together, sit together, chat together and may even go to watch movies," said Dr Shah, obviously very excited.
"I'm really looking forward to reaching Delhi with the second batch of our contingent on October 2 (Saturday). But I have received a very positive feedback from our first batch. The facilities at the Village are fantastic. I have told the athletes to enjoy the atmosphere and also to carry the Pakistan flag with a lot of pride."
When pointed out that the Ayodhya verdict that may cause tension and trouble in the country, Dr Shah said they were keeping a close watch on the situation. "But that has no bearing on the Games. Your government has taken enough measures and is capable of handling the situation. Our athletes are not really worried about the security situation."
Dr Shah also summarily dismissed the stories of corruption and negativity which erupted in the lead-up to the Games. "This is a huge effort on the part of the Government of India, believe me. All the criticism basically makes mountains out of molehills. The stories of stains and snakes are trifles. Show me one Games where things have gone on smoothly during preparations?"
The sports minister has made it clear to the contingent that they must ensure discipline. "Anyone who falls out of line will be sent back immediately. This is a very strict message that I have given to them."
Star hockey forward Rehan Butt made it clear that they are going to improve on their performance. "We are going to give it our best shot. Our aim is to do well in the Guangzhou Asian Games."
Asked how he reacted to reports emanating from India, the Pakistan forward said: "Efforts of the host city should be supported instead of being criticized. What I see around me is quite beautiful. It needs a little more cleaning up, that about it."
Courtesy: Times of India
Friday, October 01, 2010
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